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New Mexico: Campaign Launched To Improve Veterans' Access to Medical Marijuana for PTSD

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New Mexico Patients and Veterans Fighting Employment Discrimination and Stigma from Medical Professionals that Create Barriers to Medical Marijuana

July 9: US Rep. Lujan Grisham, New Mexico State Rep. Antonio Maestas, Veterans, Patients and the Drug Policy Alliance to Speak at Press Teleconference

The Drug Policy Alliance, veterans’ groups, elected officials and others are introducing a campaign to protect New Mexico’s military veterans’ legal access to medical marijuana. The Campaign is asking New Mexico to stand with veterans and their families to ask our state lawmakers, employers, and medical professionals to support efforts to ensure that when veterans come home they will have access to the medicine that works for them.

New Mexico’s medical marijuana program is considered a nationwide model. In 2007 New Mexico became the first state to develop and implement a state-licensed medical marijuana production and distribution system, and in 2009 it became the first medical marijuana state to specifically include post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition.

“This campaign has national implications, as hundreds of thousands of veterans return home from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD,” said Jessica Gelay of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “We hope that this campaign will encourage other states to ensure that their veterans receive the best care possible.”

New Mexico: Medical Marijuana Access For PTSD Patients Is Protected

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

After months of deliberation, the New Mexico Department of Health on Tuesday upheld a recommendation by the Medical Cannabis Program’s Medical Advisory Board and announced that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will remain a qualifying condition for New Mexico’s medical marijuana program.

Patients’ access to medical marijuana under state law was threatened by a request to withdraw PTSD as a qualifying condition for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program after Dr. William Ulwelling, a retired psychiatrist in New Mexico, submitted a formal request to the state's Department of Health requesting PTSD be removed from the list of eligible medical conditions for enrollment in the state’s medical marijuana program.

During her 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Gov. Susana Martinez (R) vowed to repeal New Mexico’s medical marijuana law.

“Although today patients suffering from PTSD can breathe a sigh of relief, we will not rest until the Martinez Administration continues to demonstrate, as they did yesterday, that they will not turn their backs on all medical marijuana patients, including veterans, patients with disabilities, and victims of trauma and violent crime,” said Emily Kaltenbach, director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s New Mexico office.

New Mexico: House Narrowly Approves Bill To Reduce Marijuana Penalties

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Under a bill passed 37-33 on Monday by the New Mexico House, adults possessing less than eight ounces of marijuana would no longer receive any jail time. House Bill 465 now goes to the Senate, which only has four and a half more days to act on it.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Emily Kane (D-Albuquerque), would reduce penalties for possession of up to four ounces to a civil penalty with increasing fines, while eliminating the potential for jail time for possession of any amount up to eight ounces, reports Steve Terrell at The New Mexican.

"Spending $5 million a year to arrest people with small amounts of marijuana is a waste of resources," Rep. Kane said during the three-hour debate on her bill. "We could put that money to better use."

"Why on God's green Earth would we want to spend money throwing college kids in jail for having a few joints when we could be spending that money on early childhood education?" said Rep. Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) during the debate.

Rep. Egolf called New Mexico's current marijuana laws "institutional state stupidity."

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